Monday, June 15, 2009
“Legalism occurs wherever a sinner attempts to earn God’s favor by his or her personal righteousness instead of by Christ’s transferred righteousness. Legalism demeans the value of Christ’s work of atonement by requiring sinners to perform activities that are man-centered and, in essence, man-exalting. Even subtle, unspoken legalism sets forth a course that inevitably leads to spiritual pride and eventual defeat under the weight of unsuccessfully attempted law keeping. Paul reacted against all forms of legalism with force and focus, calling for those who teach such lies to ‘be accursed’ (Gal. 1:8-9) and even wishing that those who were unsettling the Galatian Christians would ‘emasculate themselves’ (Gal. 5:12). This is strong language. But such attacks by Paul do not seem shocking when we pause to consider what is at stake. By substituting man-centered performance as the basis for acquiring righteousness, the very essence and foundation of redemptive truth is compromised.” (Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington, The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness, pp. 156-58).
Legalists want to “look good” in their religion. Their boast does not come from Christ (as Paul did, Gal. 6:14), but making believers to adhere to their expectations externally (i.e., visible form). That is why they will “compel” (Gal. 6:12) believers to conform to their standard because the basis of their boasting is inseparably linked with men’s conformity to them.
Are you suffering from a terminal case of legalism?
Are you more concerned with making sure you follow all the dos and don'ts of being a good church member than you are with spending time seeking God's face?
Are you serving Church or are you serving Christ?
Search my heart and reveal to me any areas where I am seeking the praise of people more than I am seeking your will. Reveal to me anyone who I am judging because they are not behaving like I think a "Good Church Member" should.
FLO Ministry Team